(Photo: LifeChurch.tv via The Christian Post)
The YouVersion Bible app, available in multiple versions and at least 45 languages, has surpassed 34 million downloads from across the globe. App creator LifeChurch.tv, based in Oklahoma, hopes to see 500 million to 1 billion downloads by the end of next year.
The free app reached a milestone of 30 million downloads on mobile devices – iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and iPad – in October, and surpassed 34 million downloads in weeks, NewsOK reports. And contributing to this jump are devices not just from America or Europe, but also from South America, Africa, Middle East, Oceania and Asia.
“Obviously, from our perspective, what has happened is pretty incredible, but on the other hand, we now know what is possible,” said Pastor Bobby Gruenewald of LifeChurch.tv in Edmond who helped create the app and who was listed in Fast Company’s 2011 “100 Most Creative People in Business” along with Conan O’Brien, Arianna Huffington, Oprah Winfrey, Tina Fey and Ryan Seacrest.
“If we have the faith to believe we can see 500 million to 1 billion downloads, then 30 million seems pathetic,” Gruenewald was quoted as saying. “We just think it’s possible we can accelerate and connect with tens of millions more.”
The sharing of the app on Facebook and Twitter had created a viral effect, Gruenewald told The Christian Post in May when YouVersion reached a milestone of 20 million downloads. For the pastor, its global reach was in sight. “The pace has been increasing and picking up,” he said. “We are really excited because we see more people engaging in the Bible.”
The reach of the app in a little over three years is nothing less than a global revolution. “I was at O’Hare Airport and I thought, ‘What could today’s technology mean for the Bible? Could it spark revolution?’ That’s what I believe we are seeing happen today – a revolution,” the pastor said.
Since July 2008, when the app was launched, LifeChurch.tv’s tech-savvy group called Digerati has worked hard to add more versions and languages to YouVersion. The church has also engaged more than 500 volunteers around the world to make it popular.
The motive behind all the effort is to help people engage with Scripture and have a deeper relationship with Christ. And it’s happening. Gruenewald said he had learned that one in 17 iPhone, iPad and iTouch users and one in 17 Android users had downloaded the app. However, the church cautions on its website, “It’s not about the tools we use, but about bringing Christ into people’s everyday lives, both near and far.”
“All my life I struggled with huge books,” the website quotes a user, Edward, as saying. “This app means only small chunks – makes me want more Bible! Miracle.”
Recently, Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.) read a Bible passage from the YouVersion Bible app as he was speaking on the House of Representatives floor.
The Bible app allows users not only to read the Bible on their mobile devices, but also listen to it. And now, in partnership with Joyce Meyer Ministries, YouVersion will offer daily devotional – in addition to numerous daily reading plans that users can subscribe to.
The Bible app’s success should make the city celebrate. “If someone were to list cities that have influence on Internet technology, Oklahoma City might not have been viewed as an Internet hotbed, but here we see one of the largest apps being basically created by a team in Oklahoma City,” the pastor said.
But it’s just the beginning. The church aims at reaching 85 percent of the people around the world with the Bible app by the end of 2012.